Shocks In Erebor 1

Author's Note:This story is the direct sequel to Surprises in the Greenwood and I'd highly recommend you have read that before reading this as otherwise some things won't make sense.

Shocks In Erebor
by NiRi

Chapter One
On Friendly Terms With The Dwarves

Legolas made his way towards the looming shape of Erebor — the Lonely Mountain. He hummed softly to himself as he walked, glad that he had been able to get away for this trip. It had been two months since Gimli and he had parted since their return from the War. It felt good to have returned home, but his family saw how much he missed the friend he had made in his travels, and so they had shooed him on his way with instructions to tell Gimli to visit again soon. Oh, how he looked forward to seeing the dwarf again! A message had been sent to Gimli through the men of Dale, who were on friendly terms with the dwarves. A reply stated his friend would be expecting him and looked forward to his visit.

Being expected, Legolas made his way up the slope with little concern, following the map Gimli had sent. The sudden screaming of his senses, proclaiming danger, took him a bit off guard, and he froze in his tracks. A thud sounded, and he found, in the ground before him, where he would have been if he had not stopped, a dwarven throwing ax lay deeply imbedded in the ground.

Glancing up from the axe, he discovered a group of four dwarves approaching him, and angry dwarves judging by their countenances. Each dwarf was heavily bearded and wearing chain mail over a colored tunic. And all were armed with axes as well. Legolas felt grave concern over the expressions on their faces. He had learned from watching Gimli that if a dwarf looked like that, there was going to be trouble — big trouble usually. Uncertain, he stooped and picked up the axe, noting it's fine, sharp edge. Straightening, he faced the advancing dwarves and smiled, trying to sound cheerful. Anything to ease the tension in the air around them.

“Greetings, my good dwarves! I am Lego—”

A booming voice interrupted him. “We know who you are, elf!. And you would be wise to stay where you are and toss away the axe!” The dwarf that spoke was black-haired and wearing a red tunic. Standing to either side of the speaker stood his mirror copies, only with brown hair and beards, one in blue and the other in yellow. And slightly behind them stood a dwarf that looked very much like Legolas suspected Gimli must have appeared when he was younger, sporting wild auburn hair and wearing a black tunic. Gimli's brothers, perhaps? He swallowed. All were giving him menacing glares.

Legolas complied with their wishes, tossing the axe forward a few paces. He had no desire to cause any trouble, but he was very confused about their grim demeanors. He was expected, was he not? The black-haired one said they knew who he was! So what was the meaning of this reception? Surely Gimli had told the others he was coming? He swallowed again, watching the advancing dwarves with a wary gaze.

The dwarves halted a few yards away. One of them, the dwarf in blue, picked up the axe and slipped it back into his belt.

“We know who you are,” the dwarf in red repeated. “And you are not welcome here. We don’t know how you enchanted our brother, but you won’t be enchanting anyone else! We will find a way to release him from your foul spell!"

Legolas blinked. So they were Gimli's brothers. Oh bother it all, he had not counted on the ongoing animosity between the elves and the dwarves being a hindrance to his visit. This would not be fun at all, if Gimli's family did not accept him!

Holding his hands out, palms up in a sign of peace, he smiled, trying to reason with his greeters. “I assure you, I have done nothing to Gimli, other than befriend him. I do not understand why you would think such things, but perhaps if you would call him, he could explain...”

“And let you ensnare him even more?” The dwarf in blue asked, his brows rising up his forehead.

“He’s lying," the one in yellow cried, fingering his axe.

“Probably wants to enchant us, too,” the red-headed dwarf murmured, though of the four, he looked the least convinced.

“And how do you explain that foul creature?" the one in yellow spit out the question. "Huh? Do you have any idea what followed our brother home? Almost killed Grayn, it did!”

Foul creature? What did he have to do with that? He could not think of what they meant— A sudden suspicion sent trickles of apprehension down his spine. Oh, no. Tell me she did not... But it would explain her absence these past weeks, would it not?

Legolas sighed. ”I beseech you, please listen to me. I know not of what you speak. Please only fetch Gimli, and I am sure we can put whatever has happened behind us.” He started to question why he had ever agreed to visiting his friend’s home. Gimli could not have thought it a good idea considering his family's misconceptions about him!

“Do you think we are so stupid?" Yellow shirt growled. "You sent a warg after our brother! It found Grayn first.” He pointed at the dwarf just behind them, the one that looked so much like Gimli, who was bobbing his head, eyes wide. “Luckily we were able to fend it off. Only, whatever you did to our brother has his brain so addled he took the creature into the mountain with him! The darn thing sleeps on his bed at night! And you try to say you did not put him under a spell?”

The group of dwarves threw each other suspicious looks and red shirt nodded. “Get him!” As a group they rushed Legolas, who still stood in shock over all he had heard.

Legolas had wondered where Draugalu had wandered off to, but she was prone to such things. And if he was not being rushed by four angry dwarves, he would have laughed that she had followed Gimli home. The female warg, who he had raised from a pup, had taken a shine to his friend when he had visited the Greenwood.

He leapt back to avoid the onrush of angry brothers, but found it had been an unnecessary move. Before they could reach him, a voice called out, and all four suddenly stopped in their tracks.

“What is wrong with you idiots? Do you wish to dishonor your family by attacking Gimli’s friend?” The speaker stepped into view, and Legolas gazed upon another dwarf. This one also had auburn hair, but lighter in shade than that of Gimli's and black shirt's hair. And this one wore no mail, just a plain brown tunic belted over dark trousers.

Due to his family, Legolas had much experience with females. He had a wonderful wife, a beautiful daughter, a mischievous granddaughter and numerous nieces, not to mention his mother and brother's wife. Legolas had prided himself on charming the ladies of his family. And so, even though brown shirt was appeared much like the others in build and beard, and spoke gruffly like a dwarf should, Legolas picked up on little things that assured him this one was different. This dwarf was female. He smiled.

“I don’t know what you think you are doing! Mother is going to kill you! She told you to leave the elf alone.” The dwarf-woman crossed her arms across her chest, tapped her booted foot much like any woman of Legolas's acquaintance, and glared at the four brothers who had turned toward her. They were looking guilty...and to Legolas's amusement, afraid.

Legolas just stared. He had been shocked by many things in his life, but never had he anticipated this visit to be so eventful. And he had not even seen Gimli yet! The dwaf-woman met his eyes and smiled, and when she did, her eyes twinkled and he thought she was lovely, for a dwarf.

She uncrossed her arms and approached, holding out her hand. “Galin," she said, "sister of Gimli, daughter of Glóin at your service.”

Legolas took her hand but did not know whether to shake it or kiss it. He did not remember if Gimli had ever said how one greeted a dwarf-woman. However, Glóin was a dwarf of high position, and so Legolas opted for the latter, bending low to bring her fingers to his lips. Galin giggled lightly — he had not known dwarves could giggle — and pulled her hand back as a red blush crawled over her face.

“Now, now Master Elf! Gimli told me you were married. You should not be flirting so with unwed females.” Galin chastised him with a coy smile.

Legolas flushed in embarrassment. He had not meant to give her that impression! “Forgive me, my lady. It is the custom of my people to greet a lady in such a manner." He bowed. "Legolas Thranduilion, at your service."

She inclined her head, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "Nice to finally meet you, Legolas."

He smiled, realizing she had only been teasing him. "Is Gimli expecting me? I do hope Draugalu has not caused any problems. I apologize for any trouble she may have been. I never thought she'd follow Gimli home!”

“Draugalu is a dear and has been no trouble except when she sat on Grayn and washed his face repeatedly! Seems she mistook him for Gimli.” She gave him a wicked grin. “I would have paid handsomely to have witnessed it!" Inclining her head towards the mountain, she continued,"Gimli is expecting you and is being notified that you are here, as we speak. Forgive the rudeness of my brothers. They do not understand how it is possible for Gimli to have befriended an elf.”

Legolas walked with her towards the entrance to the mountain, but could not help noticing Gimli’s brothers had slipped away. For some reason, he did not think he had seen the last of them. What a shocking way to start his visit!

Chapter Two

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